Patients who practice yoga regularly also learn how to reconnect with themselves. Addiction often makes people feel disconnected from their bodies. As substance use takes over, it becomes more difficult to function without drugs or alcohol and a schism forms between the mind and body. Yoga helps to heal this gap by providing a quiet mental space in which one can reflect and connect with their true self.
During this time, patients are able to listen to their inner voice and what it’s saying. Are you living the life you really want? What brings you joy? Are you surrounded by people who love and support you? Is anything holding you back from achieving happiness and freedom from substance use? It can be challenging to ask these questions, but finding out the answers can clear the way to long-term, sustainable recovery. By focusing on the self, patients can attain a greater degree of self-awareness that helps them rediscover their goals and how to use them to move forward in treatment.
BENEFITS OF YOGA
As a physical and spiritual activity, yoga provides numerous benefits
Yoga promotes flexibility, strength and adaptability, as well as a sense of purpose and balance. These qualities can help patients in recovery manage difficult or unexpected situations and see setbacks or disappointments from a new perspective. Yoga also supports patients throughout treatment by helping them stay focused on their goals while facilitating holistic healing, self-discovery and inner growth. Those who practice yoga are often surprised by the variety of ways in which it improves their mental, physical and spiritual health.
MENTAL BENEFITS OF YOGA
Yoga promotes a greater degree of mindfulness and mental well-being by providing the space to reflect and reconnect with the inner self. This awareness helps patients to understand their substance use disorder and the effect it has on the mind and body. The relaxing, stress-reducing aspect of yoga has also been shown to improve the symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. This has proven beneficial for patients in all stages of treatment but is especially helpful for those in detox or early recovery. During this time, traces of drugs or alcohol often linger in the body and may cause mental distress, imbalances or uncomfortable side effects. Incorporating yoga into recovery helps alleviate these symptoms and gives patients the tools they need to move past them.
PHYSICAL BENEFITS OF YOGA
As a low impact exercise, yoga is a great way to re-introduce patients to healthy physical activity. Yoga can be adapted for patients regardless of their fitness level to ensure that they feel at ease and comfortable with the experience. As patients become stronger and more confident, our experienced instructors can introduce advanced poses and techniques. The goal is to make yoga a part of each patient’s daily or weekly routine and provide a moderate challenge that encourages growth. When practiced regularly, yoga has been shown to significantly reduce stress, lower inflammation, reduce chronic pain or discomfort, increase strength and enhance flexibility. Yoga can also improve one’s posture, balance and sleep quality. The overall effect is to teach patients in recovery to listen to their bodies and rediscover healthy movement and activities.
SPIRITUAL BENEFITS OF YOGA
At its core, yoga is a spiritual practice that emphasizes the unity of the mind, body and spirit. Yoga promotes improved self-awareness, inner peace and a connection to the divine. What this means is different for every individual — yoga is not a religion and has flourished across cultures, countries and beliefs. Yoga is simply a way for people to look inward and become aware of themselves on a deeper level. This awareness is often transformative, allowing patients to find meaning, purpose and harmony. When we explore our inner selves, patients can analyze the things they value most and what they hope to get out of the recovery experience.